That title is forgetting something; there will also be gingerbread in house form. Because Christmas. And photos of me writing are just not as fun to look at.
Why I write books for kids:
1. It’s wide open. I can write about anything and anywhere and anyone and do it in strange and wonderful ways and my readership is okay with that. They like strange. They are open because they haven’t yet formed a concrete idea of what literature or a novel should be. My possibilities are as vast as their imagination.
2. They make the best audiences to present to. I recently visited several schools for both my books and had a fantastic time, partly because the students were really engaged and enthusiastic and filled with great questions. Kids live in a world where author means something very similar to rock star. That doesn’t happen to me very often, and while it is flattering, it also reminds me that there is something special and awesome about being an author. It’s easy to forget that.
3. Children’s books shape us. At no other time in our lives can reading, and the books we read, have a greater impact on us than before we become an adult. We are figuring the world out, figuring other people and ourselves out, and we need guidance and role models. We find a lot of that in literature. This is one reason why I hate how some adults treat kid lit as a separate genre and wouldn’t be seen reading it on the bus. Just because it’s for kids doesn’t make it dumber or less worthy or less interesting or less complex. It’s crucial for our development into strong and stable adults, and can also enrich the lives of actual adults. We seem to think as grownups that we don’t need reminding of that time anymore, but it is that reminding that is so beneficial to us in a myriad ways. I still tell people who ask what I write that I write books for kids, but I wish I could just say I wrote novels. Period. Because I do. The fact that they are marketed to a younger age group should be irrelevant. Whoa, this has taken a turn onto Rant Avenue, hasn’t it?
4. (And kind of also number 3, but it was getting a little long and intense up there…) Writing from the perspective of a pre-adult reminds me of the important lessons I learned growing up, and also reminds me of what I still need to work on. Maybe all writing does this, but when you are writing about a time when everything is new and the mind is sorting out how and why to be a certain way, you are faced with obvious life-truths that you can’t help reflecting on. Both the protagonists in my books have parts of kid-me in them, and writing those characters was a kind of catharsis. Which is really just a reason to write anything: it reaffirms who you are as a human, continually seeing yourself through the lens of your work.
**puts down pen and picks up icing bag**
And now to the gingerbread housery…hope you’ve got some seasonal goodies to tuck into today. [This was not a completely homemade creation, by the way. God bless Ikea.]